Sewing Adventures of Someone Who Doesn’t Sew – Part 2 (Valances)

When we moved into our current house, I took one look at the living room and knew that it could be a beautifully decorated Americana room!

I’ve wanted an Americana room for years! So I slowly accumulated some rustic decorations and began transforming this room into what I’ve always dreamed of.

Americana living room

We started discussing painting some rooms upstairs, and that got me thinking about the living room again. What could I do to add a little something special to it? Curtains!

I figured curtains would be a rather simple way to make a big change in the appearance of our living room.

My husband wanted lined curtains to help keep heat from escaping in the winter time. I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted these curtains to look like. And while I probably could have found what I wanted from a store, I chose to make them myself.

I purchased the material from JoAnn Fabric, and it just so happened that the material I wanted for the panels was on sale online for 60% off!

While I was waiting for the panel material to ship, I purchased material for the valances in the store. I’m not always a patient person!

I was determined to make my own pattern for these valances. I mean, it’s just a rectangle, right?

I actually really like the way these valances turned out! And if I can do it, it isn’t terribly difficult!

I measured my windows so I could get an idea of how many yards of fabric I would need. To make 6 valances, I needed just under 3 yards of fabric. My valances are 12 inches top to bottom, including the 1 1/2 inch ruffle above the curtain rod. So they hang down approximately 9 inches below the curtain rod (not including the pocket for the curtain rod).

These valances are 43 1/2 inches wide. This provides a little scrunched ruffle look, but not tons. The fabric came 45 inches wide, so rather than make life more difficult, I used that as the width of my valances.

Valance material

I began by cutting out pieces of the correct size: 16” wide by 45” long. The really nice thing about this fabric is that it is thicker and slightly canvas-like, so it creases and folds rather easily. Also, there are lines on it! For the majority of my cuts and folds, I simply cut along the lines! I suppose those lines make the finished product easier to critique as well, but I didn’t look at it that way!

Valance lining

For the lining, I simply used a beige twin flat sheet that I bought at Walmart for $4.97. I cut the lining to 9” wide by 44” long to fit inside the hems.

Valance bottom hem

Valance bottom hemValance bottom hem

First, I hemmed the bottom edge of the valances. Ok, confession time. For the first 3 valances I sewed, I simply folded the material over one time and sewed it. Honestly, it doesn’t look that bad. If no one examines them closely, they’ll never know the difference. So if you want to fold over a 1/2 inch hem and call it a day, by all means, do it!

Valance hem

Valance hem

But then I decided to try to make the hems looks nicer, even though I knew it would take more time and be more difficult. I still folded the hems 1/2 inch, but I also folded them under a second time so the rough edge was not sticking out. These look better and feel sturdier because of the thickness.

Honestly, either way you hem them, your curtains are going to be the same size. So do whatever you are comfortable with.

After the bottom was hemmed, I folded the sides for a 3/4 inch hem, again folding the edge under a second time.

Valance corner hem

When I only folded the hem once, I folded the corners to look like triangles to dress it up a bit. I couldn’t do that with the folded under hem.

Valance top hem

Valance top hem

To make the top of the valances, I folded the top edge down 3 1/2 inches. I folded the bottom 1/4 inch of that back up underneath to make the hem look nice.

Valance curtain rod pocket

Once that was sewn, I measured 1 1/2 inch up from the hem and sewed one line straight across. This is to create the curtain rod pocket and top ruffles.

For the majority of my rod pockets, I was able to simply sew on one of the existing fabric lines. Handy!

The only thing remaining was to iron the valances. I’ve got to confess…I don’t iron. Ever. So when I dug the iron out of the cupboard, my husband nearly swallowed his teeth!

Our windows are too wide for me to hang the valances on my own, so I needed some help from my husband’s long wingspan!

While we still have the lace curtains up until the fabric for my new curtain panels arrives, I couldn’t wait to hang the valances!



Here is a quick rundown of the pattern for these valances:

1. Cut curtain fabric to 16”x 45”.

2. Cut lining to 9”x 44”.

3. Sew 1/2” hem on the bottom of the valance. Lining should be inside the hem.

4. Sew 3/4” hem on both sides of valance.

5. Sew 3 1/2” hem at the top of the valance. The top of the lining should be sewn into this hem.

6. Measure up 1 1/2” from top hem and sew all the way across to create a curtain rod pocket.

Do you sew your own curtains and valances? If you do, feel free to comment or post pictures on social media (@ruralhighness)! I would love to hear about or see them!

If you missed Part 1 of my sewing adventures, you can check it out here. There is a little comedy involved!

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2 thoughts on “Sewing Adventures of Someone Who Doesn’t Sew – Part 2 (Valances)

  1. They look really nice! I think the main advantage to folding it under twice is to keep it from fraying when washed. Curtains don’t get washed too often, so it is not that big of a deal.

    I sewed the curtains in my kitchen and dining room and one window of curtains in the nursery (now a playroom). My kitchen windows are all different sizes, so I can’t just buy curtains to fit them. I also can’t wash them all at once because I might mix them up and not know which window they fit. So, I have to wash a few at a time over the course of a few days.

    1. That is a great point about the hems fraying in the wash!
      It is awesome that you sewed so many curtains for so many rooms! It is fascinating to me that your kitchen has all different sized windows!

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